Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Where does "turn-out" come from?


Let's investigate the range of motion inside our hips and see how this might be true..... Check out this great video and you can see the head of the femur moving inside the hip socket while demonstrating: 
  • flexion 
  • extension 
  • inward and outward rotation 
  • abduction 
  • adduction 
Makes perfect sense that rotation of the hip joint allows us to "turn-out" our legs: 

Now.... let's check out the knee, shall we??? 

Livestrong only mentions flexion and extension of the knee in the above link, because that is the only safe range of motion for knee mobility!  The knee does have limited amounts of rotation while in flexion (when it's bent), and of course each body is different so there may be a little more rotation at the knee joint for some people, but turn-out DOES NOT come from your knee.  You must utilize the rotation from the hip join only, or you risk serious injury. And further more, most over-rotating that I see is when closing a position of the legs (straight legs in full extension like in the above photo!) And it's not only the football players who have to worry about knee injuries during a game...... 

"Noncontact forces also are an important cause of knee injury. Quick stops and sharp cuts or turns create significant deceleration forces that can sprain or rupture the anterior cruciate ligament. Hyperextension can result in injury to the anterior cruciate ligament or posterior cruciate ligament. Sudden twisting or pivoting motions create shear forces that can injure the meniscus. A combination of forces can occur simultaneously, causing injury to multiple structures."

So..... twisting or pivoting motions can cause injury to the knee..... that must mean that if I close my foot into fifth position (in ballet class) and then torque my knee to turn-out below my knee, I am doing damage, right???? Yes, absolutely right.  Just like a twisting of the knee on the soccer field can impact the ligaments or the menisci of the knee, over rotating in the wrong places can have the same crippling effect.  

This summer at NYSSSA I've had SEVERAL students come to me with knee pain while saying..... "it only hurts when I over-rotate from my knee."  We have to put an end to this or we risk prematurely ending young dance careers. 


YIKES!!!!! This is just about what you're doing when turning-out from the knees...
I beg our dance teachers..... reinforce turn-out from the hips only!!! 

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